Monday, September 14, 2015

Bye-bye Governor Perry!

Let us spray. From "Rick Perry Defends Himself Against Two Felony Charges", Newsweek, August 17 2014. One of the charges was dismissed in July, the other remains (his lawyers more or less acknowledge that he was guilty of abuse of power but insist that's only a misdemeanor, not a felony. Ah, small government!)

Startling headline at The Hill yesterday takes contrarian to a whole new level:

The importance of Rick Perry

What importance would that be, exactly? That his noble withdrawal from the presidential campaign proves that #NotAllRepublicans are in fact running? Or that there is not, in spite of appearances, a literally infinite amount of room in that clown car? Or that
Voters seldom pick asses
Just because they wear glasses
(Be very worried, Dr. Ben Carson!)

No, apparently it is because in the first place
governors read his book. Today, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has led 26 states in a 10th Amendment challenge to President Obama's executive action on immigration, citing the president's "lawless trampling on the Constitution."
Before Perry brought it up, it had not occurred to the nation's governors to use this inherent, constitutional authority to challenge federal authority. Now it constitutes a best practice for many governors.
Or maybe not, because he never seems to have considered doing it as governor himself, and there's no evidence that his book (or rather ghostwriter Chip Roy's book, the one where he said Social Security was a Ponzi scheme and called for repeal of the 16th and 17th Amendments so we could get rid of income tax and turn the election of Senators back to our totally democratic state legislatures) had anything to do with it. It was "undocumented economist" governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi who came up with that idea in 2012, taking it down to inglorious defeat last April. Its failure makes it clear that the Abbot case, filed in 2014, has no chance of success either; because the "harm" they claim Texas will suffer from the DAPA program (deferring the deportation of parents of legal US residents and citizens) would be even less than that suffered by Mississippi in the DACA program (deferring the deportation of "Dreamers"), and the federal court in the earlier case said it wasn't any harm at all.

So it's hardly "best practice" except as a remedy for the problem of finding income sources for conservative attorneys, and it's pretty silly for Perry and his fans to be fighting to give him credit for it.

Mr. Quigley's second point is that of Perry's championship of the great paradox of "Constitutional conservatism" or con-con, the fact that it's opposed to the Constitution; the demand that we should go back to the Articles of Confederation and "restore" power to the states (not the people, but the statehouses in Austin and Columbia and Madison)—and do it specifically so that the states won't exercise them.

I don't know where Perry gets credit for that either, since it goes back in detail 50-odd years to Barry Goldwater, and it was just as stupid then.

The third important thing about Perry, unmentioned in Quigley's piece, is—oops! Slipped my mind! (Sorry, couldn't help it.)

Update: Ed Kilgore reminds us that there was something unusual about this year's Perry campaign as opposed to 2012's:
This time around Perry impressed even me by making a speech reminding Republicans they were the party of the Fourteenth Amendment. It didn’t catch on.
Indeed. And his strange and un-Republican proclivity for thinking of immigrants as humans was what doomed him last time as well four years ago. Mr. Quigley doesn't seem to think that was an important aspect of his career at all, and I guess that was the problem; Perry's potential fans weren't interested. 

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